Attrition statistics for first-year students in many tertiary environments suggest that students face a wide variety of obstacles. Students in developmental education programmes usually have one additional obstacle: They have a history of failure in academic settings. Therefore there are emotional and psychological barriers in addition to academic ones. Those students who come from low socio-economic backgrounds, often linked to membership of a minority ethnic group, face further obstacles again. This paper follows the efforts made in one developmental programme to reduce the dropout rate for such a group of students.